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HANDYMAN Q&A

Home Improvement : Home Improvements Pay Even Before Resale

August 13, 1989|ANDY LANG | Associated Press

QUESTION: We intend to have some remodeling done on the inside of our house. Are we likely to get back the money we spend on the improvements when it comes time to sell the house? Also, which improvement is most likely to add to the selling price of the house?

ANSWER: The second question is a bit easier to answer than the first. A remodeled kitchen usually is the best selling point when a house is up for sale, although that certainly is not true all of the time. How much you get back on most improvements, though, is an iffy matter. It depends on many factors, including the sales market at the time and the importance the potential buyer places on the type of improvements you made. Instead of worrying about the possible monetary return on your remodeling investment, consider the importance of how it improves your family life style. Remember, too, that improvements you have made are likely to enable you to sell your house faster than if they had not been made. That can add up to a considerable amount of money if time is a factor.

Before You Start Work, Get Permits

Q: I know you have to get permits and certain other things when you have an extensive amount of remodeling done to your house, but what happens if you have hired an architect? Are permits then necessary?

A: By all means. However, an architect can save you the trouble of obtaining the permits if you discuss this with him in detail, as you should. Again, whether remodeling is supervised and planned by an architect or any other professional or whether you are doing the job yourself, you need the required permits and must follow all the town regulations.

Weekdays Prime Time for Lumberyard Visit

Q: Settle a dispute for me. I contend it is better to shop at a lumberyard during the week when the dealer has more time to discuss your project with you. My neighbor says that even though he is retired and can go there Monday through Friday, he finds it better to go on Saturday, when there is a lot of activity and you get more professional attention. Who is right?

A: You are. Not only do you get more attention during the week, when it is not so busy, but you are being unfair to working people who cannot go any other day except Saturday. Stick to what you are doing.

Use Rottenstone to Restore Gloss

Q: I know that pumice powder and rottenstone powder are excellent for newly finished wood surfaces, but I always get mixed up when I try to remember which one should be used first and which second.

A: Pumice powder gives a satiny appearance to the surface, but sometimes is considered to have removed the desired high gloss. When the high gloss must be restored, then rottenstone powder is used last.

Painting Revives Aluminum Siding

Q: The aluminum siding on our house has faded somewhat. It also has become mildewed and dirty in spots. Is there anything I can do short of replacing the siding?

A: Yes. Aluminum siding--as well as vinyl, hardboard and steel siding--can be repainted with very good results. As with any kind of painting, it is important the surface be prepared properly. Simple rinsing with a garden hose may be all that is needed to remove a minor accumulation of dirt. Mildew can be removed with a commercial mildewcide or a solution of household bleach and water. John Oberle of Benjamin Moore & Co. cautions that all grease, excess chalk or scaling paint must be removed. Glossy surfaces must be dulled. And areas protected from the weather, such as eaves and overhangs, should be washed with a detergent solution and rinsed with a strong stream of water to remove excess surface salts that can interfere with proper adhesion. Where excessive chalking is a problem, priming before painting is recommended by Oberle.

Caulk From the Gun Easy on Trigger Finger

Q: I expect to do a considerable amount of caulking on the outside of our house. Is it better to use the caulking compound that comes in large containers or the kind available in cartridges?

A: Bulk compound is cheaper, but the caulking cartridge and the necessary gun are usually best for the homeowner. It is important all old caulking material be removed from previously caulked areas. The gun is held at a 45-degree angle while the trigger is squeezed with a steady pressure. Before you buy a caulking cartridge, read the label all the way through to be certain the product suits your purpose.

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